Staples Chamber Orchestra plays Boston Symphony Hall

Channing Smith, Creative Director

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Jonathan Demeter ’17 woke on March 4, anticipating what would be the culmination of extra hours and weeks of practice. As a proud member of the Staples Chamber Orchestra, and a viola player of eight years, Demeter knew there was no room for error.

I made sure that I was especially comfortable with all the pieces so that the change in environment wouldn’t hurt my playing ability,” Demeter ’17 said.

After being accepted into this new program at Boston Symphony Hall, the only thing between the Staples Chamber Orchestra, and playing at a professional venue, was a three hour bus ride.  

Demeter is just one of many members of the Chamber Orchestra who got the opportunity to attend the trip to Boston to see the Boston Symphony and partake in a master class.

The master class was lead by Benjamin Levy, Boston Symphony Orchestra double bassist. Along with being third chair of the bass section, Levy is head of the Boston Conservatory school’s bass program, and has collaborated with groups such as the Hawthorne String Quartet and Borromeo String Quartet.

“One thing I took away from the master class is that you should be aware of the intended style and mood of the piece and try to replicate that in your playing,” Demeter ’17 said.

Jack Whitten ’18, a chamber and quartet soloist, as well as dedicated violinist since he was just six years old, agreed that the master class helped in improving the group’s playing. He described the music as, “fun but challenging.”

“I also had several rehearsals with the other string quartet solo members, where we worked on matching intonation and playing together,” Whitten ’18 said.

But perhaps the biggest takeaway did not involve musical style or technicalities, but the big picture, as Adele Valovich, Chamber conductor and Staples orchestra teacher suggested.

“I wanted to ramp up their level of playing,” Valovich said, explaining how the anxiety and excitement leading up to the event only encouraged her group to work harder.

“Just the fact that we were able to play at Symphony Hall, with its acoustics and its history… I thought that it was important we start to reach outside the bounds of Staples.”

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